The history of bowling: Part 2

3D Bowling pins

In the first part of our series, we looked at the earliest origins of bowling, when it was a popular pastime among children in Ancient Egypt and Rome.

What was the next step in the evolution of the game? How did it spread through the centuries across the Western world and beyond?

Today we find out how people passed their spare time in the Middle Ages…


No, we're not talking about that delicious rainbow-coloured candy.

Skittles was actually a sport played by men during Medieval times, when they weren't too busy going to war in their shining armour.

Also called Nine Pins, the sport was incredibly similar to modern-day bowling (except with one less pin, of course). Players would roll a ball made of rubber or wood down a lane in order to knock down the pins, and points were scored accordingly.

Skittles began in Great Britain, which shows that there are more things the English introduced to the world than just fantastic tea.


If you think monks led boring lives in dark and dank monasteries, think again.

Historians believe that monks who lived around 300 AD also played an early variant of bowling - however with a much more religious twist.

They would set up a series of pins, called Kegels, and roll a heavy ball down a platform towards them.

Why on earth did they decide to play such a game though?

Apparently the Kegels represented the monks' sins and temptations, and the ball was meant to be God knocking them down.

So now you know about two more early forms of bowling, and how the game traversed ancient civilisations to become the popular recreational activity it is today.

Next time you're organising bowling parties for kids, use your new knowledge to impress them with a few historical facts!